Santana is walking to the barbershop where he works, when he sees Officer Slager chasing Scott on foot and starts to record the incident on his cell phone as they enter a deserted area. He hears a Taser gun go off and sees Scott running away from Slager. The video shows Officer Slager draw his weapon, and as Scott turns and begins to run away, Slager fires his weapon eight times towards Scott’s back as he flees. Slager then walks over to Scott who lies motionless in the grass, and places handcuffs on his wrists, behind his back. Another officer then arrives on the scene. Scott is later pronounced dead. Santana says that Scott did not reach out to grab Taser, as the police officer originally stated.
Police tell Santana to stay where he was, he said. But he flees, out of fear for what he had seen, what he had done and what might happen to him. He is shocked when a client mentioned later that day that there was a commotion near the shop and that a man had been killed by police. Santana had not realized that the man he saw being shot had died.
A report of the incident appears in the Post & Courier:
Police in a matter of hours declared the occurrence at the corner of Remount and Craig roads a traffic stop gone wrong, alleging the dead man fought with an officer over his Taser before deadly force was employed.
A statement released by North Charleston police spokesman Spencer Pryor said a man ran on foot from the traffic stop and an officer deployed his department-issued Taser in an attempt to stop him. That did not work, police said, and an altercation ensued as the men struggled over the device. Police allege that during the struggle the man gained control of the Taser and attempted to use it against the officer. The officer then resorted to his service weapon and shot him, police alleged.
Scott’s family gather Sunday in the lot where the shooting took place, with community activists for a press conference calling for community calm and law enforcement transparency during the investigative process. Pastor Thomas Ravenell places a candle where Walter Scott was shot and killed by Slager (whose name has not been released at this point). Anthony Scott, the victim’s brother:
We just would like for justice to be taken, for justice to be served, and we would like for the truth to come out so my brother can rest in peace. Whatever happened yesterday, that’s all we want is the truth, and we will go to any length to get it.
The president of the local chapter of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, says:
We know that Mr. Scott was unarmed, that worries me and everyone in this community, that another unarmed black man has died — that is very troubling. I want the family and community to know that National Action Network will not stop until we get these answers.
After seeing the official report, Santana agonizes over what to do with the video. He checks Facebook to see if he knew anyone in common with the family, and found that they shared some friends. He decided to show it to the victim’s family — on the condition that they do not reveal its source.
When I saw the police report [and saw it was] totally opposite to what I had in the video I contacted the family. Before that I had a lot of doubts over whether to do it or not. I was scared, I am still scared…I feel that what I did was the right thing. The family got possession of the tool they needed and they’re going to get justice for all this.
The video is released to the public and Slager is charged with shooting and killing Scott. If convicted of murder, the officer could face life in prison, or he could be sentenced to the death penalty. Slager is booked into the county’s detention center and is being held without bail.
Santana thanks his supporters on Facebook:
Santana, the man who shot the video, is interviewed by NBC News‘ Lester Holt:
I thought about his position, their situation … If I were to have a family member that would happen [to], I would like to know the truth.
In another Interview on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes, Santana also says:
I felt that my life, with this information, might be in danger. I thought about erasing the video and just getting out of the community, you know Charleston, and living some place else. I knew this cop didn’t do the right thing.
South Carolina authorities release dash cam video in connection with the Scott’s shooting. The footage does not show the actual shooting. The video from Slager’s patrol car shows the traffic stop and early interactions between the officer and Scott. Slager approaches Scott’s vehicle and the two men speak. Scott tells the officer he does not have insurance and is in the process of purchasing the vehicle. Slager then returns to his patrol car. Scott attempts to exit his vehicle, however, Slager tells him to stay in the car. Again, Scott gets out of the car, and runs away, out of the field of view of the dash cam. Officer Slager then pursues Scott on foot, but no visual footage of that chase is available. While in pursuit, Officer Slager warns Scott that he will use the taser. Slager:
Taser, taser, taser. Get on the ground!
Santana meets the Scott family at their Charleston, South Carolina, home. Judy Scott:
Oh, thank you God! Thank you Lord! Blessed God! Thank you, thank you God. Thank you, thank you!
Walter Scott, Sr.:
Thank you for another son, God, thank you. You’ve got a family in Charleston right now… anytime.
Walter Scott’s son, Walter Jr.:
You did a good thing, Brother. I don’t know how this would’ve turned out without the video, I just want to thank you. I don’t know how much I could thank you more.
Just amazing that they know the truth, you know. And they know that Mr Scott won’t, like I say, this didn’t just happen and stay that way. God put me there for a reason, I’m a very believer of God.
Odette Santana says she is happy but scared about the attention her son is getting:
I am a little bit in shock, a little bit happy. It’s a lot of mixed emotions. I am scared because all this is new to me, I am worried for his safety…Maybe it will pass.